When you hear “Just Around the Riverbend,” do you immediately don your flowiest caftan and race, barefoot, through the woods? Maybe you know every single part in “We Don’t Talk About Bruno,” and you can, miraculously, sing them all at once? Or do you methodically arrange your pancakes, waffles, and peanut butter cups to look like Mickey Mouse?
While we’re only guilty of one of the above (we’ll let you guess which!), if you’re a Disney superfan/addict, you are not alone. And yet, you are an island; here's our warning: Disney is super protective of their assets, even when the well-intentioned of the world are using them to help build the squeaky-clean, sparkly idyll portrayed in many of their movies. Be careful how you advertise and utilize the imagery, music, and names that they own.
34 Disney Fundraising Ideas
In honor of the House of Mouse, here are our best Disney-inspired fundraising ideas, from the one-hit wonders to the deep tracks.
1. Disney sing-along
If you ask us, the best thing about Disney is the songs. From “Let It Go” to the very underrated “Almost There” (it’s from The Princess and the Frog, people!), invite guests to go the distance and belt Disney’s greatest hits.
2. Snowman-building contest
Do you want to build a snowman? Of course, you do! If you live near snow, you can host your very own snowperson (snow-capybaras welcome, too!) contest, providing plenty of props, prizes, and hot cocoa. While they may not be as charmingly eccentric as Olaf, you’re sure to get some great pics for social media.
3. Chinese calligraphy workshop
Learn to write like Mulan with a Chinese calligraphy workshop where attendees can learn the basics of Chinese calligraphy. Serve red bean bugs to keep everyone’s energy up, and provide all the necessary materials for guests to leave with their own scrolls.
4. Tiana’s NOLA brunch
The Princess and the Frog’s Tiana is an aspiring chef from New Orleans, so try your hand at recreating some of NOLA’s most famous recipes while raising money for your cause. Serve beignets, shrimp and grits, omelets, and, of course, chicory-infused cafe au lait.
Sample social media copy: This Sunday, we’ll be channeling our inner chefs and raising money for [a great cause] at our New Orleans-style Disney brunch! Inspired by The Princess and the Frog's Tiana, we'll be serving up some of New Orleans' most famous recipes, playing some jazz, and screening this classic film. Raise a mug of chicory coffee with us, and let’s do this! #TianasNOLABrunch #NewOrleansFlavors
5. Toy Story toy drive
Host a toy drive in honor of Toy Story, so that every kiddo can have their very own Woody, Buzz, or Bo. Want to give your toy drive an extra edge? Try a …
6. Toy Story toy hospital
Sure, Sid’s creations were slightly terrifying, but we bet the Wednesday Addamses of the world would love them! Invite supporters to bring their baldest dolls and their headless teddies. Then, give ‘em a quirky-cute makeover with some extra limbs, a dye job, and a dash of glitter.
7. "I'll Make a Man Out of You" workout
Run attendees through Shang’s rigorous training sessions, having them do push-ups, run an obstacle course balancing two buckets of water, and, but of course, climb to the top of a flagpole. Play the song on repeat the entire time.
Sample social media copy: Attention Disney fans! Join us for a heart-pumping "I'll Make a Man Out of You" workout fundraiser this weekend. Over the course of 90 minutes, Captain Li Shang’s iconic song will have you feeling like a warrior. Expect push-ups, sit-ups, and, of course, a flagpole climb. #WarriorWorkout #DisneyFitnessGoals
8. Pirate treasure hunt
Arghhh, matey, avast ye landlubbers to … the … plank? Um, we’re really bad at speaking Pirate, so we encourage you to use our favorite pirate translator. Sell tickets to a pirate-themed treasure hunt, inspired by Peter Pan’s Captain Hook. Hide clues all around a local park or neighborhood, leading to the treasure, which will be split 50/50 between the winner and the organization. Even better, get an anonymous donor (maybe a pirate!) to match funds donated to the org.
Bonus! Book this fundraiser for September 19, Talk Like A Pirate Day, for extra fun.
9. Disney photobooth
Everyone loves to ham it up (er, tofu it up? We just keep thinking of little Pua in Moana!) at a photobooth, and a Disney-themed one is even more fun. Props can include Maleficent's horns, Mickey’s ears, Woody’s hat, or Cruella’s coat.
10. Puppet show
Anyone who loves Pinocchio will love attending a real live puppet show. You can partner with professional puppeteers or make it kid-centric with a volunteer-run production. If you want something a bit more hands-on (noses-on?), try a …
11. Puppet-making workshop
Host a workshop where guests of all ages can make their very own Pinnochio! Keep it simple with popsicle sticks and socks, or engage a puppeteer to teach everyone the art and science of making marionettes.
12. “Let It Go” cry fest
'It’s a cathartic cry-fest, where every guest is invited—nay, encouraged!—to let their deepest emotions out! Picture it: you play “Baby of Mine” from Dumbo, go straight to the first 20 minutes of The Lion King, then watch that opening montage from Up. Provide each guest with their own box of tissues and a bowl of raw cookie dough.
Sample social media copy: If the past few years have felt tough, get ready to “Let It Go” at our upcoming Disney Cry Fest! Join us for a cathartic evening of tears and comfort food as we watch heart-wrenching scenes from beloved Disney movies. Each guest will receive their own box of tissues and a bowl of (egg-free) raw cookie dough to help us through this emotional journey. #CryFest #EmotionalJourney #DisneyMagic
13. “Be Our Guest” dinner
Get out the good tablecloths for a five-course French dinner fundraiser. Set the table with good china, buy an assortment of tres bien fromage (that’s cheese, FYI), and settle in for an evening that will put your service to the test.
14. Alice and Wonderland tea party
Host a madcap tea party a la Alice and Wonderland, complete with tea, tiny cakes, and cucumber sandwiches. All the beverages should come in little bottles marked “drink me.” At the end, get in on a little crossover action and finish each other’s … sandwiches. And if you want to make it REALLY wild, try a …
15. Alice in Wonderland extra magical tea party
If you live in Oregon, you can give everyone psychedelic mushrooms to make for a really interesting party!* JK JK; they’re only available for use with a state-certified facilitator.
16. Fantasia gala
And we’re talking about the original Fantasia here, even if it’s pretty weird and a little bit dated. Anyhoo, a Fantasia-themed gala will be the event of the year. You can play the super-classy soundtrack (skip “Night on Bald Mountain”), decorate with faerie lights and felted mushrooms, and encourage guests to don their finest centaur-inspired ensembles. Best of all, you can serve copious amounts of wine in golden goblets, inspired by Bacchus.
17. Disney movie marathon
Pull an epic all-nighter with a Disney movie marathon featuring all your favorite Disney films. Our ideal run would include Lilo and Stitch, Mulan, the Emperor’s New Groove, and Aladdin. What can we say? We love 2D animation!
18. All-you-can-eat pasta dinner
Inspired by Lady and the Tramp, but of course, it’s a night of unlimited spaghetti and red sauce for humans and their furry friends. Lay out the checked tablecloths, light a candle, and play the violin. If guests want to share an XL noodle with Fido, this is a judgment-free zone.
19. Night among the Star …Wars
Take your typical glamorous evening gala and relocate it to a galaxy far, far away. Invite all the Mandalorians, Jedis, Wookies, Jawas, and Droids in the Republic to an outdoors event with the Mos Eisley Cantina, Death Star, Endor, and other iconic locations represented. Then, all you have to do is have a blast!
20. Flower art workshop and auction
In honor of Encanto’s Isabela, buy all the wholesale flowers you can get your hands on, then hire an experienced florist to teach guests how to turn them into vibrant bouquets, striking wreaths, or living works of art. Don’t forget the jacaranda branches!
Sample social media copy: Need some fresh ideas? Look no further than our Encanto-inspired flower art workshop and auction. We'll be channeling our inner Isabelas and bringing life and color to our surroundings, creating bouquets, wreaths, and other living works of art. #AHurricaneofJacarandas #EncantoArt
21. Tangled makeovers
Partner with a local salon to give your supporters brand-new Rapunzel-inspired looks, then donate the locks to another organization. You can also offer faerie hair, up-do’s, and extra-fancy makeup.
22. Squirrel-language lessons
“Squeak squeakum squeak squeakity” = “My acorn is missing.” While you might not have the Emperor’s New Groove’s Kronk to teach your Squirrel-language class, you can still teach kiddos the basics of communicating with our acorn-loving friends.
23. Mermaid swim
Have folks lap each other in the community pool or casually splash about in the local lake on a warm day. The differentiator here is that everyone wears a mermaid tail. (Or an octopus body suit. #TeamUrsula.) Now all you have to do is get your hands on a bunch of mermaid tails…
24. Superhero strut.
Invite supporters to strut their stuff in Marvel superhero costumes. They can get more use out of those expensive Halloween getups, which is reason enough in and of itself! Keep it simple by strutting down the street, bar-crawl-style, maybe with participating establishments donating proceeds from specialty drinks, hmmm? Or set up a catwalk and auction off a superhero coffee meetup, playdate, house cleaning, or home-cooked dinner.
25. Disney bake sale
Over the years, Disney’s done a decent job of diversifying their movies, and that creates a perfect excuse for a bake sale with treats from all across the globe. Serve Colombian postre de natas (Encanto), dragon’s beard candy (Mulan), and haupia (Lilo and Stitch). And hey, if you run out of ideas, you can always sell some spoonfuls of sugar.
Sample social media copy: This weekend, our Disney bake sale is coming in hot! We're serving up treats from around the world, all inspired by our favorite Disney movies. From Colombian postre de natas to Chinese dragon's beard candy, we've got it all covered. And if you're feeling extra nostalgic, we might even have some spoonfuls of sugar! #DisneyBakeSale #SweetTreats
26. Greek gods party
Those Greek gods in Hercules sure knew how to par-tay, so let them inspire you to a divine evening. Host a party where guests dress up as their favorite Greek gods (include a “decorate your own toga” station for anyone who’s misplaced their aegis) and decorate the room with columns and statues. Then, serve food and drinks inspired by Greek mythology, such as ambrosia salad and nectar punch.
27. Grogu ask
It doesn’t even matter what the fundraising premise is here. Grogu is so funding cute, all he has to do is hold out his little hand (paw? claw?), and we’re turning over our cash. Maybe just make him the guest of honor at a fishy, squishy, sushi dinner.
Sample social media copy: There are tons of Baby Yoda memes out there, so use ‘em! Caption a picture of our sweet Grogu with his hand out: “Donate? Next weekend, come have dinner with the Baby Yoda himself, Grogu! We’ll have all his favorites: frog eggs, spawned spider monsters, and bone broth—plus a few human dishes as well!
28. Archery lessons and competition
Like Merida in Brave (or Mulan in Mulan … or Robin Hood in Robin Hood … Disney protagonists really love their archery!), your supporters will learn to shoot their arrows straight and true.
29. Aristocats talent show
Inspired by those meow-y talented kitties in the Aristocats, host a talent showcase in which guests share their musical skills. Make the event even better by featuring an Acrocats-style cat talent show, too. They’ll mostly sit there and look cute, which should earn them all perfect 10s from the judges.
30. Belle’s book drive
Host a book drive inspired by Belle of Beauty and the Beast fame. Include banned books, feminist novels, and, of course, fairytales.
31. Moana’s Polynesian dinner
Take a palm frond from Moana and host a multi-course Polynesian feast. Partner with local restaurants serving Hawaiian, Samoan, Tahitian, or Tongan food for a night of new tastes and good music (who doesn’t love Moana’s catchy tunes?). You can take the dress code up a notch with a lei-making station. What can we say except you’re welcome?
32. Llama and kitten yoga
Emperor Kuzco spends most of the Emperor’s New Groove as a llama, while (spoiler alert!) Yzma ends it as a kitten. Both of these animals are adorable, so why not host a joint yoga session with llamas and kittens?
33. Forgotten Disney movies marathon
In researching this article, we came across some animated Disney films that we’d totally forgotten about! Admittedly, they’re a mixed bag, but if you provide the popcorn, guests are sure to show up. We suggest a showing of the Great Mouse Detective, Treasure Planet, and Brother Bear.
Sample social media copy: Sure, we’ve all seen Aladdin 5-10 times, but what about The Great Mouse Detective? If you want to revisit some forgotten Disney classics, join us for our Forgotten Disney Movies Marathon, where we'll be screening some hidden gems on the big screen. Just bring yourself, and we'll provide the popcorn! #ForgottenDisneyMovies #MovieMarathon
34. 101 non-Dalmations adoption event
Dress 101 adoptable furry friends in Dalmatian-inspired attire, whether it’s a red collar or a little sweater with black polka dots.
We don’t know about you, but we’re gonna sign off to spend the next 26+ days watching every Disney movie ever (thanks for that calculation of how long it would take to watch every Disney movie, Reddit!). And remember: it’s Disney, so read the fine print on copyrights and trademark infringement to make sure everything’s strictly above board. Okay, back to playing “Be Prepared” on repeat!
Disney fundraising ideas: Key takeaways
- In a fundraising event landscape where everything looks the same, Disney-inspired fundraising ideas are a perfect way to mix it up and bring together supporters of all ages.
- While most folks know Disney for its full-length animated features, you can also draw inspiration from live-action movies, animated shorts, and Disney theme parks.
- Watch the copyrights! Disney is known to take it personal when anyone uses their images, names, and music, even nonprofits. Really toe that line.
- For any events focusing on a specific culture, be sure to bring in an expert to ensure cultural competence; then, share credit and revenue as appropriate.